Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Buyers remorse?

I hope not!

The Macbook has been acting up for some time, with the output to the monitor I use producing flickering and corruption if started with the monitor plugged in. Starting the MB first, then plugging in the screen has been an acceptable fix, but the fault *looks like* it did when the graphics chip on the Mobo failed just over 5 years ago when I first had it, even though I suspect it's a software fault.

And on top of that, as it's got older it's begun sweating more & more with ordinary tasks: multiple tabs open in a browser, gets hot. Play a DVD, gets hot. Moving a couple of hundred GB around to external drive, gets hot. Taking notes in word during a meeting, gets hot. When I first had it, it was amazing how it was so cool & quiet compared to all the laptops others I knew were using, with an old HP owned by a colleague modulating the (incredibly) noising fans between a loud whoosh and even louder 'something's gonna blow' rushing noise. And that was from a cold boot.

At the time I bought the Macbook a friend also bought a Dell XPS, and for about the same price or rather less if you include Office professional that was included in the deal (I made do with home & student edition at £85 instead of £300). His machine travelled the world repeatedly, far more than mine did, never got reinstalled or upgraded and, scarred & beaten, was finally retired at the end of last year after becoming too slow to bear and some of the keys falling off.

So I'm going back to windows, and with a Dell.

Just ordered one of these through Dell's outlet shop (BIG discounts!) for the business, having talked to Chris about it a little. I *hope* it's not a pretty carbon fibre and ali clad piece of junk, eagerly anticipating raising my blood pressure with faults and trouble, but will be a solid workhorse and a decent upgrade to the Mac. Despite being a 15" machine it's actually a bit lighter than the 13" Macbook, with a battery life that should be similar to what that had when it was new (around 4 hours of real-world use). The spec suggests that it shouldn't need much upgrading during its working life - definitely not something that was true for the MB, sadly, which was only a mid-level machine at the time of purchase.

What else?

Well the warranty was about £200 for 3 years next business day onsite. Seems a lot, but compare that to the £300 I paid for Applecare 3 years return to base warranty - looks GOOD to me.

My other biggest concern outside of machine reliability & performance is transferring emails across. There's bound to be an app I can buy that will do it, but I resent paying for a tool to use just once only & never again. Hopefully the entourage archive file will be in a format compatible with Outlook, & can be imported without pain. Emails are so important to me, because they are my record of interaction with the business world and an archive of essential information.

Why didn't I buy another Mac?

Good question. It was tempting, to enable a relatively painless transfer, but basically it's just too expensive with not enough longevity for the expenditure. I'd been looking at refurb Macbooks for some time, but the last of the original macbooks was introduced in 2012, with a 2 year old mid-level spec at the same price I just paid for the Dell. For a little more I could have had a refurb 2013 Retina display  machine at a low spec, but they cannot be upgraded, and that was going to seriously limit efficient working life. A refurb machine of similar spec was £1539. :p   Apple's change in design policy to make their machines with no user-replacable parts was the complete deal-breaker

So we'll have to wait & see whether it's angels in paradise or nightmare on elm street. Hopefully mostly the former.

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